Sunday, April 27, 2014

66


Achievement Unlocked – Two of Three Numbers. Only One More Needed!

Sixty years ago, I had my sixth birthday and got the first of my ultimate three digits. Today, on my sixty-sixth birthday, I finally got the second six. Only one six left to go to achieve completion!

(maybe a bit older than 6 but close)
 

There were minor 666 plateaus over the years, of course. I graduated high school in 6/66, a lovely adumbration, especially since it was a Jesuit-run prep school. The Pope’s ninjas nurturing the once and future beast! How droll. How ironic.

 

In 6/76 (Just one number off!), I made the huge change of moving from New Orleans to Seattle, bringing my seductive Creole decadence to the innocent Northwest. One bad apple and all that.

 

By 2/86 (and eight minus two is, again, SIX), I was dating my beautiful Ronnie. Peripherally, I’m 17 years older than Ronnie and 1 from 7 is (Wait for it!) SIX! Put that together with the two sixes of 2/86 and it makes for a pretty nice triple-6.

 

In 9/96 (Nine is just an upside down six, so how Satanic is that?) I was taking flying lessons in Destin, FL; and, yes, I did want to learn how to land as well as take off. By that time, spin training had been omitted from the private pilot requirements and replaced with stall awareness; however, spin training was not prohibited and I made sure to find an instructor who was not spin-averse. I mean, what’s the fun in light aircraft if you’re not gonna spin the bastard? Wheeeeeee! I am a leaf on the fucking *whirl*wind! E-ticket rides are for pussies!

 

Finally, here today, 4/27/14 (as only we in the ass-backwards US write it), I made it to sixty-six or, numerically, 66. W00t! So close.

 

So today I celebrate being two-thirds of the way to my ultimate destiny. Pleased to meet you. Won’t you guess my name?

Sympathy for the Devil

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Letters to the dead: Jorene


On Sunday April 6, 2014 my beloved aunt Jorene (Adams) Maier had her appointment in Samarra. Well, technically, rather than involving a frightened rush to Samarra in the vain hope of avoiding such an event, it was an anticipated meeting in Selah, WA in the privacy and comfort of her own home, embraced by her family, especially her husband of more than sixty years, my uncle Moritz. Together they were the MoJo of the Maier clan: Moritz and Jorene, a unit, a single and singular entity. Now, she has departed to explore Shakespeare’s undiscovered country alone, while Morrie and the rest of us are left with a huge lacuna in our lives here in the mundane, workaday world.


They married not long after the war, that’s WWII of course, and embarked on a life together. During that journey, they shared nine children, twenty-eight grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, countless nieces and nephews, spouses of most of those, and enough love and kindness to blanket the world. Jorene was kindness personified. She was Catholic, and in that context I think it is completely appropriate to call her a saint. She lived her life that way and, in death, per her beliefs, she is absolutely one.



Given the power of her life and its effect on those around her, I thought immediately of John Donne’s poem when I heard of her death. She may be gone, but her legacy of love and kindness transcends the grasp of Death himself. Once her appointment was scheduled, she did not tarry here. In my experiences with death, it seems that the good ones never do. They are anxious, in the concept of the old spiritual, to board the morning train for home because that evening train just might be too late. Bon voyage, cher tante (per alliance).

Mornin' Train  (Technically, "Get Right, Church")

She is at peace. It is those of us who remain who wish there were a train to carry us to Gilead. Alas! There is none. The only balm we have is our memories of her. Perhaps, that is enough.


Death be not proud – John Donne

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.


P.S. My lovely friend Ren maintains a blog of letters to the dead. I have submitted this to her for inclusion there, too.